Yoga is such a beautiful practice, and we as humans are drawn to beauty. The loveliest thing about it, is that anyone can do it and reap the benefits.
-Karen Pride, Owner of Yoga Pearl, Prasad & Harlow
Karen Pride is an entrepreneur, a business woman and a yogi.
In just a little over three years, she has become the proud owner of three restaurants and a yoga studio in Portland, Oregon.
Stark Portraits recently spent a few evening hours on Rocky Butte, photographing her talented yoga instructors for the Yoga Pearl website.
Karen recently talked to us about yoga, business and the importance of having professional branding images.
What inspired you to get into yoga?
My journey into yoga began with an interest in Eastern Philosophy and meditation. I developed a fascination with Buddhism and began taking Eastern Philosophy classes at the university I was attending in Michigan.
In these classes we studied all sorts of Eastern religions and philosophies, which eventually led me to travel to China and Tibet to dive in deeper. That trip propelled me to move to Portland where I began taking yoga classes at Portland State University while finishing up my college degree. The combination of mind, body and spirit is both what drew to me to yoga and what keeps me coming back to my mat on a regular basis.
When and why did you decide to open up your own yoga studio?
My restaurant, Prasad, had been open for two years when I decided to buy Yoga Pearl and become a studio owner back in April of 2012.
Prasad is located inside of Yoga Pearl so I was around yoga every single day and my yoga practice had grown to become an extremely important part of my life.
I am an entrepreneur by nature so it’s only fitting that I would look around Yoga Pearl and think “Hmmmm….. what if I owned this studio? What would I do with it? What changes would I make? What would my life look like if I owned a restaurant and a yoga studio?”
Yoga Pearl’s 10 year anniversary was approaching and I thought there was a possibility that the previous owners might be ready to pursue other endeavors in life and might consider selling their studio to me. So I asked, and behold, I now have a studio that I love with all of my heart and soul.
How have you seen yoga evolve over the years?
The modern culture of Yoga has grown tremendously. We are seeing teacher trainings all over the place, more people are practicing, more studios are opening, the yoga clothing market is a massive industry, and with all of this change there is a constant dialogue in the yoga world about what all of this means.
It’s fantastic that yoga and it’s healing benefits are reaching more and more people every day. Yoga is becoming an acceptable practice for everyone in our modern society.
Yet, with all of this change I think we also see the potential for yoga to be watered down, and sometimes unsafe. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the style of practice that is “right”.
Overall, it’s fascinating and I think that there is a huge wave of passion guiding our conversations about yoga because it is such a powerful practice. We are in the midst of change right now and it’s going to be interesting to watch how that continues to unfold.
How do you think social media has played a role into why people are so in to yoga now?
Yoga is such a beautiful practice, and we as humans are drawn to beauty.
I am reminded of when I met my yoga teacher at Portland State University for the first time. She walked across the room with such grace and I was in absolute awe. I wanted to learn how to move like that.
Social media takes that same experience that I had with my first yoga teacher and broadcasts it across the world for all to see.
The loveliest thing about yoga is that anyone can do it and reap the benefits. Yoga teachers post on social media about the healing benefits and then people who have maybe never tried yoga find themselves in a situation where they need to calm their mind or soothe an aching body, and they think, “I should try yoga”.
Social media brings the practice to everyone. Social media and yoga are a perfect fit because social media is often a visual medium for expression, and yoga has a very beautiful visual component along with an incredibly inspirational side.
How have professional photos of your yoga teachers increased your reach and marketing?
Having access to professional images of Yoga Pearl teachers has a dramatic effect on our marketing.
My studio and the teachers are able to use these images for promotion on social media, in newsletters, flyers and across the web which is how we spread the word about the amazing things that are happening at Yoga Pearl.
We constantly hear positive feedback about the gorgeous pictures on Yoga Pearl’s website and Instagram account, which obviously would not be the case without professional images.
These images give Yoga Pearl a sense of professionalism which goes a long way in upholding our reputation as one of the top studios in Portland.